The Woodsman handles better than it’s dynamically similar Trials brethren, thanks to running decent Avon road tyres instead of knobblies. It’s not sharp, and being brutal will tie it in a knot, but smooth use of the wide bars results in a respectable ability to maintain momentum through bends. Suspension quality is low, crashing over potholes and such, though it’s merely slightly bouncy over better maintained surfaces. Just keep in mind what it is, and it’s fine.
Making a relaxed 28bhp, the Woodsman EFI isn’t a thrasher’s dream, but it makes big handfuls of torque right from tickover in a charismatic, lumpy fashion. The alloy-construction engine revs better than older Enfields, but it’s happiest using the low and mid range torque. 70mph cruising is comfortable, 85mph possible flat out. It feels best at 50-60mph on country roads.
All Enfields are built in India these days – fit and finish is crude in places. Reliability is better, and they’re dead simple to maintain, but still expect to have to get hands on once in a while. The Woodsman is a model created in the UK, adapted from a standard Bullet EFI by the importer. The conversion parts are well made.
It’s not ludicrously expensive, but neither is it cheap. It’s cheaper than pseudo classics like the Triumph Bonneville, but then it’s not quite as able. It is, however, genuinely descended from classic British machinery from over 50 years ago, and remains the most authentic way to get the classic biking experience on a zero-mile machine. Find a Royal Enfield Bullet 500 for sale.
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Equipment is good compared to Enfields of old – the fuel warning light, fuel injection, electric start (plus a kicker for those of burly leg) and disc brake make life simpler. There’s a luggage rack behind you for strapping your sarnies to. That’s about your lot – it’s simplistic motorcycling. There’s not even a trip meter. Compare and buy parts for the Enfield in the MCN Shop.